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De l'un an multiple: Traductions du chinois vers les langues eruopeenes.

De l'un an multiple: Traductions du chinois vers les langues eruopeenes. Edited by VIVIANE ALLETON and MICHAEL LACKNER. Paris: EDITIONS DE LA MAISON DES SCIENCES DE L'HOMME, 1999. Pp. 341. 195 F

Every serious scholar of Chinese studies is also a translator. But translation is not only an essential part of our work; it is also something we like to talk about: what approach to the task do we favor? what version of a text translated more than once do we prefer, and why? who are our preferred saints or sinners? The aim of this stimulating collection of fifteen papers is described by the editors in their introduction (both a French and an English version of the introduction are included, but I quote from the former because the grammar of the latter is less than perfect):

Le present ouvrage ne vise pas a elaborer une theorie de la traduction mais a mettre en scene les moments forts comme les defis de cette aventure qu'est la rencontre a travers les textes de deux societes eloignees dans l'espace (et, pour toute la tradition classique, dans le temps)--l'un des premieres questions etant de savoir si cette distance implique, comme on a parfois tendance a le croire, des differences fondamentales, que le traducteur serait impuissant a surmonter.

There have been many other collections of this sort published over the years, with the individual articles often being simply a venue for an author to display his own superiority to some carefully chosen rivals. In fact, one has grown to expect such books as a regular product of Sinological self-consciousness. However, the articles contained in this volume are of more than usual interest and value. This is mainly because most of the authors are more concerned with discussing matters of historical fact, context, and development than with demonstrating their own translation skills. That is to say, the emphasis is weighted more toward information than opinion.

The papers are divided into five sections: "Le jeu european des langues," "Des traducteurs d'envergure' "Le traducteur parle," "Les aleas des textes' and "Remunerer la defaillance des mots." The articles are the following: (part one) Wolfgang Bauer, "The Role of Intermediate Languages in Translations from Chinese into German"; Federico Masini, "Italian Translations of Chinese Literature"; (part two) Lutz Bieg, "Literary Translations of the Classical Lyric and Drama of China in the First Half of the 20th Century: The 'Case' of Vincenz Hundhausen (1878-1955)"; Michael Lackner, "Richard Wilhelm, a 'Sinicized' German Translator"; Monika Motsch, "Slow Poison or Magic Carpet: The Du Fu Translations by Erwin Ritter von Zach"; Angel Pino and Isabelle Rabut, "Le marquis d'Hervey-Saint-Denys et les traductions litteraires: A propos d'un texte traduit par lui et retraduit par d'autres"; (part three) Jacques Dars, "Traduction terminable et interminable"; Andre Levy, "La passion de traduire"; (part four) Daiwie Fu, "On M engxi bitan's World of Marginalities and 'South-pointing Needles': Fragment Translation vs. Contextual Tradition"; Anne Cheng, "Si c'etait a refaire ... ou: de la difficulte de traduire ce que Confucius n'a pas dit"; Christoph Harbsmeier, "Authorial Presence in Some Pre-Buddhist Chinese Texts"; (part five) Jean Levi, "Problemes d'indeterminations semantique dans la traduction de texts philosophiques"; Georges Metailie, "Noms de plantes asiatiques dans les langues europeenes: Essai en forme de vade-mecum"; Yinde Zhang, "Traduire ou transcrire les noms de personnages: Incidences sur Ia lecture"; and Andrew Plaks, "The Mean, Nature, and Self-realization: European Translations of the Zhongyoung." Regardless of subject, virtually every one of these essays also offers numerous useful nuggets on particular words or phrases, and several of them include extensive bibliographies that take account of many little-known works from years and centuries past.
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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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